The 56-year-old Katy area man was charged with the crime after being stopped in Sugar Land on December 24, 2006. Tata's numerous trips out of the country resulted in missed court dates and a delayed trial.
According to Assistant District Attorney Amber Givens, Craig Webb witnessed a reckless driver traveling Highway 6 during the early morning hours of December 24, 2006, and called the Sugar Land Police Department. Mr. Webb, a concerned citizen, reported that the driver of a white Land Cruiser, later identified as Godfrey Tata, was swerving in and out of lanes on Highway 6, almost colliding with several vehicles.
Sugar Land Police Sergeant Thompson located Tata near Highway 6 and Highway 90. After observing the defendant swerving on the road, Sergeant Thompson turned on his emergency lights and siren. Despite the lights and sirens, Tata continued travelling northbound on Highway 6 for approximately two miles until police blockaded his vehicle at a red light.
Officer Torres noted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, red glassy eyes and slurred speech when initially contacting the defendant. Based on the citizen's report and officers' observations, Officer Torres evaluated Tata using standard field sobriety tests during which the defendant showed signs of intoxication. Additionally, Officer Torres asked Tata to do a breath test, but he refused. At the conclusion of Officer Torres' investigation, Mr. Webb returned to the scene and provided a written statement.
"We applaud Mr. Webb for his 'see something, say something' philosophy and encourage all Fort Bend County citizens to follow his lead," said Givens. "While we serve the public in the courts, it is only through our citizens and local law enforcement that we truly partner to make our community a safer place to live."
Tata was tried in County Court at Law Number 4 before Presiding Judge RH "Sandy" Bielstein. Driving while intoxicated in this case is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail, but Tata is eligible to receive probation. He has elected for the judge to determine his punishment, which has been scheduled for a hearing on September 27 at 9am. The public is welcome to attend.
Godrey Tata is the father of Jessica Tata, a former day care owner charged with murder in the deaths of four toddlers who died during a fire at her home day care in February.